Exclusive Membership: India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group

Akash missile fiired from Chandipur Orissa India

President Barack Obama, on June 2016, came out in support of Indian membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which led other nations including Mexico and Switzerland to suggest they, too, were on board. Diplomats in Vienna suggested on June 9, 2016 that India is closer than ever to joining the NSG, despite never fulfilling the requirement of signing a global treaty aimed at preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons…

India has already managed to secure access to nuclear fuel and technology to build power plants it says it needs to boost energy capacity and drive economic growth for the nation of 1.25 billion people.  Analysts say joining the NSG is chiefly a matter of pride and desire to be taken seriously by some of the world’s most powerful nations. Since prompting international technology sanctions and limits on exports by conducting nuclear tests in 1998, India has been eager to gain legitimacy as a nuclear power…

India already has deals with more than eight countries for supplies of uranium, and has signed agreements for reactors with France, Russia and the United States.

India scored a major victory in 2008, under Modi’s predecessor, by securing a waiver from United States allowing it access to nuclear technology and fuel despite its refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But progress in deals to build new nuclear plants since then has stalled.

For months, Indian officials have crisscrossed the globe to gather support for New Delhi’s entry into the NSG, the 48-member group that controls access to technology used in making atomic weapons.

This week, Obama hailed India’s membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime, a group that restricts the export of missiles and their delivery systems….India continues to refuse to sign the nonproliferation treaty, arguing that it is discriminatory since it defines nuclear weapon states as those that tested nuclear devices before January 1967 — which would disqualify India from ever becoming a member.

Nevertheless, Obama called on governments participating in the NSG to support India’s application to the group when it meets in June 2016 in Seoul, South Korea….India’s admission to the nuclear club is further complicated because Pakistan, its archrival, also wants to join. Indian analysts said China may be persuaded to ease its position against India’s membership in NSG  if it is offered something in exchange, for example, being allowed to join the Missile Technology Control Regime. China’ s 2004 application for membership was denied on suspicion that some Chinese companies were secretly supplying missile technology to North Korea.

“It is possible China may now seek some kind of bargain, whereby it is given entry to the MTCR in return for letting India get into the NSG,” Praveen Swami said in the Indian Express newspaper.

Excerpts from India’s Bid to Join Nuclear Supplier Group a Point of Pride, Associate Press, June 10, 2016

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